Lamentations is a cathartic cry to God in the face of enormous loss and suffering. Unlike the book of Job which is focused on an individual suffering without a perceived reason, Lamentations considers a community experiencing the devastation of God’s judgment against Israel’s sin. The writer weeps and cries out inconsolably for the city of Jerusalem and its surrounding kingdom, exploring the theological questions that are raised by Jerusalem’s defeat.
Many faithful Christians endure their entire lives with questions around suffering, trauma and consequence that are never answered. Lamentations both frees us to experience these questions and exposes us to true depth and possibility of human anguish. It presents a mere glimmer of hope that can only be illuminated by looking further down the road to God’s answers in history.
It’s not an easy book to read, but like all of Scripture, it’s a book for our time.